Wavestage's much anticipated production of Guys and Dolls is finally here! The production runs November 6-9 at Newmarket Theatre. Tickets are still available at www.newtix.ca or 905-953-5122. Tickets are also available at the Newmarket Theatre box office before the production.
Our upcoming production of Guys and Dolls is quickly approaching, and our two Sky Masterson’s are excitedly awaiting opening night! These two men have, for the past few months, put their heart and souls into developing their portrayal of the confident, charming gambler! Here’s what they have to say about their experience:
How would you describe Sky Masterson? Matt: “Sky is a confident and independent person who came from very little and has become the best at what he does. The very definition of the self-made man. But for all his swagger, he knows there is something missing. And when it (in the form of Sarah Brown) finally finds him, he finds himself in the unexpected and unusual position of not knowing what to do for probably the first time in his life.”
What is the most difficult part about becoming Sky? Matt: “Matching the bravado that defines him without it appearing hollow or phoney. Sky's confidence is not a facade to cover up insecurity. It's the essence of who he is.” Adam: “When I first started playing Sky I was trying too hard to be cool and suave and controlling. The definition of being suave is to be confident, and to not try hard: Sky may ask Sarah to dinner, but you know that it doesn't matter if she says no - it's all the same to him (or at least he'll have you believe!). The banter with Sarah is also as much about what's not said as it is about the lines. It was difficult, but incredibly rewarding to work with Justine on how to work in that flirtation with those seemingly-innocuous lines, followed by a knowing wink.”
What is the most interesting part about portraying this particular role? Adam: “How truly complex he really is. Sky is not a bad person, but he's no saint either: he's a man of God who can quote scripture, but only because he believes God works on his terms; he's a legend with the NYC gambling crowd, but he was in fact raised from nothing; he coerces Sarah to Havana on a bet, but he nearly ruins his reputation with the gamblers to save her mission from closing. On a more personal note, the scene/song of "My Time of Day" is a favourite moment of mine where we get to see Sky pull back the curtain a bit and explain to Sarah just a little bit of how his world works... and what his real name is (but you'll have to see the show to find that out!).”
How does Sky grow as a person throughout the show? Matt: “Sky learns that he can still be himself but also make room for something more. Sacrificing something, even a big part of your life, is not necessarily the same thing as compromising your true self. And corny as it sounds, love conquers all.”
What is your favourite part of the show? Matt: “I love all the great comic bits of the show- the hilarious scenes with the gamblers, the relationship of Nathan and Adelaide, etc...but I have to admit that selfishly, my favourite part of the show has to be Luck Be a Lady. The chance to sing one of the iconic tunes of the musical theatre repertoire has to be any actor's dream come true.” Adam: “I think it's a tie between "Guys and Dolls" and "If I Were a Bell". "Guys and Dolls" is such a juicy sardonic number: from the very get-go we have this rapid-fire patter of Nicely Nicely Johnson and Benny Southstreet as they almost try to outdo each other with anecdotes about how women have changed the world for "smart businessmen" like themselves. We find it funny because these characters aren't the sharpest tools in the shed and I love how Loesser uses that character trait to turn the meaning of their words against them. As for "If I Were a Bell", this song is genius because you get a huge amount of Sky's character developed by him not singing and being a listener - we finally get to see a moment here where Sky doesn't have a witty retort planned, and by the end he's speechless about what he realizes is happening between him and Sarah. Also, it's probably my favourite melody in the play, so I'm sure that helps.”
What makes this production unique? Matt: “Of course, every production is unique in at least small ways. But in this case, having 2 casts with different actors playing 3 of the 4 leads makes for a fascinating dynamic. Watching Adam's version of Sky has taught me a lot about the character, but saying that, I know it's a Sky that I'm not capable of portraying. We are different people, and our interpretation of the same words is therefore very different. The Sarah's and Adelaide's have a similar process, so we've ended up with what are really 2 completely different versions of this great show. So really, the savvy audience member has only choice- come see the show twice! (at least).” Adam: “Sadly, Guys and Dolls has an entirely undeserved reputation - even in theatre circles - as being trivial, the characters one dimensional, and the songs inserted for hum-value only. Of course, none of these things are true, but I think that it's enduring mega-hit popularity has given rise to a lot of bad productions in the last 60 years that have missed the subtleties of Swerling and Burrows' book, as well as the natural way which Loesser's songs roll off the tongue and this has left audiences with this idea that Guys and Dolls is a fluff musical comedy. Wavestage is different because we didn't start at a place trying to copy the glamourized version of the New York gansters and showgirls, but we began with simple people and how different worlds and classes collided, and then dressed them in the robes of Runyonland. Wavestages' Sky Masterson, Miss Adelaide, or Nicely Nicely Johnson could be just as recognizable in 2014 New York as they are in the 1940's, there's none of this hokey gangsterism that I think a lot of people assume when they see the words "Guys and Dolls". It's just people.”
Don’t miss seeing these gentlemen on stage from November 6-9, 2014 at Newmarket Theatre. Tickets are available online at www.newtix.ca or by calling the box office at 905-953-5122. Tickets are also available for purchase in person at the box office before the show.
Wavestage veteran Joe Adams will be hitting the stage as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls this weekend at the Newmarket Theatre! We had a chance to talk to Joe about his thoughts on the exciting upcoming production! Read on to learn more:
What was the most difficult part of preparing for this role? Joe: "I've been working on posturing and trying to perfect the look of Nathan Detroit and that has allowed the rest of the character to develop. Trying to match the dialogue and songs and make it all seem natural has been the goal. Learning the dialogue and songs can sometimes seem like an uphill battle when you get to see how many of them there are, but once I really get to understand the script and discover the natural flow of the scene, everything just falls into place, and you understand why things are written the way they are. Sometimes the hardest part is making what you have practiced on your own time work when all the other actors are present. All the different energies can create a very exciting vibe, which can take a bit of extra effort to concentrate. However, once everything does fall into place, it seems magical.”
What is your favourite musical number? Joe: “I would have to say my favourite number is "Luck Be A Lady." I love how the lyrics are very indicative of the time Guys and Dolls is set in and parallels drawn in the song. Also, musically, the song is incredible with a big build-up to a powerful finish, and in my own biased opinion, I am a big fan of the men I get to sing the song with and our own power that we bring to the song.”
Do you relate to Nathan at all? If so, how? Joe: “I feel in some ways I do relate to Nathan Detroit, like trying to keep my illegal gambling activities two steps ahead of the police and looking so darned good in a double-breasted suit... But in all seriousness, I do feel that Nathan is a very thoughtful person who will not make a rash decision without first weighing the pros and cons, which is something that I am known to be like as well.”
What previous theatre experiences led you to this production? I first got involved in theatre at 16 and was happy to be in the ensemble of shows like Kismet and Man of La Mancha. I got my first starring role in Li'l Abner where I played Abner, which was an almost intoxicating experience and made me crave even more roles. Since then I have tackled shows like The Fantasticks (El Galla), Into the Woods (the Baker), You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Charlie Brown), You'll Get Used to It - The War Show (Dusty), Parade (Leo Frank) and Annie (Daddy Warbucks).
Tickets for the show are still available at www.newtix.ca or at the box office (905-953-5122).
For the past few months, actresses Justine Turl (pictured right) and Lauren Lazar (pictured left) have been eagerly preparing for their role as “Sarah Brown” in our upcoming production of Guys and Dolls! We had a chance to ask our leading ladies about their experience playing the prim, proper and determined leader of the Save a Soul Mission! Read on to see what they had to say.
What sparked your interest in musical theatre? Justine: My love of musical theatre started at a very young age. One of my earliest memories that began my love affair with the theatre, was when my mom took my sister and I to see “The Beauty and the Beast” in Toronto. I was very small at the time but my mom said I sat mesmerized through the entire show, even asking to do it again as soon as it finished. Ever since then I dreamed of being on the stage. I probably have an unhealthy addiction to show tunes! My XM radio in my car is set to the Broadway station on the regular and every other song on my iPod is from a musical. Lauren: It's hard to pinpoint the igniting spark, as I don't remember a time when I didn't love singing, performing, and being on stage! I recall childhood memories of singing and making up dance routines, alongside my best friend, to a beloved Phantom of the Opera cassette tape; vying furiously for the only singing solo in our grade 5 school musical (I didn't get it! It was my first lesson in rejection as an actor); and falling asleep every night listening to the soundtrack of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
What is the most challenging part about performing Sarah Brown? Lauren: “For me, the most challenging part of finding Sarah Brown is looking for the moments of nuance. It's easy to find the two most obvious extremes of her character: i.e. the headstrong Sarah Brown who is rooted in tradition and acts solidly based on her morals, juxtaposed with the Sarah Brown who is softened by love, and follows her heart. What's more difficult is finding the moments in between, where she is experiencing that struggle between head and heart, especially since the text seems to transition very quickly from one to the other and back again. As an actor, it's my job to pinpoint the in-between moments when Sarah begins to let down her guard, question what causes this change, and to attempt the find the honesty in the seemingly rapid transitions/growth that she makes as a character.” Justine: “The most challenging part of performing Sarah Brown for me is probably getting in tune with her physicality. She’s a strong, confident character but she’s not brash. She has some demure characteristics but is nothing close to weak. She’s graceful but hasn’t had years of dance training. Aiming for that perfect balance has definitely been a challenge for me.”
What is your favourite song in the production? Justine: “My favourite song in the production is the duet between Sky and Sarah “I’ve Never Been In Love Before”. Not only is it a stunning ballad, but I truly see it as the ‘ah ha’ moment for both characters. It comes at a time in the show where they both are finally seeing how much their lives have changed since the other has become part of it. It comes as a complete surprise to both of them. Sarah brings out a softer side of Sky that we haven’t seen before, nor has he experienced himself. And Sky has completely swept Sarah off her feet and shown her a part of the world and of herself that she has never seen. It’s during this song that they finally are able to profess their affections to each other.” Lauren: “I think my favourite song is "I'll Know." Besides just having a beautiful, swelling melody, it is an example of one of the things that I think makes a great musical theatre song: one where the characters grow and express that which cannot be put into words alone. At the beginning of the song, Sarah is so sure of herself and what she wants; by the end, her world has been turned upside down as she begins to fall for Sky and questions everything she firmly believed up to that point. By the time that Sarah sings her reprise only moments later, though it retains the same lyrics and melody as the first time it is sung, it suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.”
How would you describe Sarah Brown? Lauren: “Sarah Brown is a fun character to play because she is seemingly a blend of contradictions. The push and pull between tradition and impulse are always at play with her character. She is grounded in conservative morals, yet she is feisty/fiery, and anything but reserved. Though she holds on strongly to her roots and fights for what she believes in, she is flexible enough to be open to change when it comes her way. Complex characters are always so much more fun to play than one-dimensional ones.”
What is the best part about performing in this Wavestage Production? Justine: “My favourite thing about Wavestage is not only that it produces professional, top quality musical theatre, but that it’s a family. Throughout my many years of being a part of the company, I have created some of the most important and closest relationships in my life. There is not a day that goes by that I am not grateful for the experiences and people Wavestage has brought to my life. I truly feel blessed to be a part of something 'bigger' and could only hope that more people could experience the heart-warming experience that is Wavestage.” Lauren: “This is the first production I have done in a long time where I didn't know almost anybody going in. It has been great getting to know so many new people, and the Wavestage group has been extremely welcoming!”
What do you like about performing as Sarah? Justine: “The thing I love about performing the character of Sarah is that she is so diverse. She has so many different sides and facets to her. She goes from a wholesome, prim and proper lady, to a woman letting loose in Havana. She then becomes a woman who is madly in love with a man who has completely changed her life but becomes angry when she comes to the realization that a sinner might not be able to change. She is able to joke around in a bosom buddy moment with Adelaide but then comes to her senses about Sky. I truly have enjoyed every single moment of becoming Sarah Brown and hope to take some of her with me forever.”